Mark Olson and Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood (Hacktone/Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Olson and Louris: My Gospel Song for You
Mark Olson and Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood (Hacktone/Elite)

Given that albums aren't recorded in the order we hear them it's surprising how many peter out after the halfway mark: I guess that's what you call "playing your aces first".

This album by alt.country/Americana luminaries Olson and Louris who last played together in the Jayhawks over a decade ago does the opposite however: after the halfway mark (in truth well before it), the songs seem to get stronger. Perhaps that's also due to the casual familiarity of these voices growing on you?

Recorded by the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson who keeps things acoustic, simple and pleasingly spare, these lyrically interesting songs work sometimes spare folk-rock changes or seem to have sprung from pre-Eagles California as much as somewhere Southern and rural. Certainly the spirit of James Taylor and even Nick Drake is here walking alongside that of Gram Parsons and Levon Helm. There's Anglo-folk alongside the songsmith smarts of a Paul Simon

Gentle finger-picking underpins soft songs such as Saturday Morning on Sunday Street where the close harmonies glisten, in other places the tempo is kicked up in a low pop-rock Creedence-cum-John Fogerty manner (Chamberlain, SD with Robinson on harmonica) and the voices have a more abrasive and sand-paper quality.

There is the obligatory death ballad here (Bloody Hands) but mostly this is a melancholy and thoughtful album that impresses on a first hearing for its low-key nature -- and grows in stature as it goes. Both over time and in the running order. 

PS. Last year Louris released the very fine Vagabonds album, also recorded by Robinson. Just released is the Acoustic Vagabonds EP, six Vagabonds tracks done acoustically. Nice.

Share It

Your Comments

d geary - Mar 30, 2009

sweet - a Grant Lee Buffalo HONEY DON'T THINK vibe. whatever happened to him?

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobies' great Listen to the Music, Long Train Running and China Grove in the late 60s/early 70s were driven by urgent guitars and hammering keyboards delivering a forward momentum (which... > Read more

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

An album where an artist covers the material of others is hardly a new concept, but you can guess that Peter Gabriel -- the ever sensitive quality controller, with his first album in eight years --... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

Had John Lennon lived, he would have turned 63 last month. It's interesting to speculate what kind of music he might be making today. Interesting, but pointless: Lennon never saw the trickle-down... > Read more

Tropical North Queensland 2007: Big and wide but compact

Tropical North Queensland 2007: Big and wide but compact

It is a curious thing, but as big Australian cities boast about themselves and claim their points of difference, they all start to sound similar. Each will tell you of its wonderful seafood... > Read more